Weekly ag briefs: New corn webinar series, chicken prices have doubled and more

Compiled by Candace Krebs
New spring garden

New corn webinar series starts soon

The Colorado Corn Administrative Committee is launching a new monthly lunch-and-learn webinar series, which starts May 26. The first segment will feature Eric Snodgrass, principal atmospheric scientist at Nutrien, presenting a weather outlook. In his talk, he will discuss how weather patterns like El Nino and La Nina influence the Colorado growing season, as well as weather factors in other major production regions like Brazil, and look at long-term trends impacting total productivity around the world. He will also talk about advancements in technology that are leading to increased predictive skill, with tips on how to interpret long-range forecasts. The second speaker will be Fred Raish, an agronomy sales manager and regional supply coordinator for CHS, who will provide insight on the chemical and fertilizer outlook. Raish is a fifth-generation Coloradan who grew up on the Western Slope working with cattle and sheep.

Buck semen testing offered

Membrane Protection Technologies, Inc. will offer two opportunities to improve goat reproductive management over the coming weeks. The company is offering a buck collection event at Bright Farms in Fort Collins on May 22 and another collection event, specifically for Pygmy breeders, in conjunction with the breed’s Mile High Showdown, June 4-6, at The Ranch in Loveland. No one wants to hear that a buck might not be as good a breeder as they’d hoped, but these events not only bring breeding challenges to light, they can also address remedies and management to help overcome any deficiencies. For more info about these events, contact Membrane Protection Technologies, Inc. at certifiedfertility@membraneprotect.com or call (970) 484-9842.

More:Weekly ag briefs: First quarter scrutinized under NCBA plan, questions of Biden's 30-by-30 plan and more

Judgment against feedyard reversed

Recently, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of a feedyard in Yuma County that experienced a once-in-50-year rainfall event almost six years ago. Following the storm in 2015, the Colorado Division of Wildlife received a report of dead fish in local fishing ponds and a run-off from a local feedyard was being blamed. Even though the feedyard had taken the appropriate measures and was in compliance with state regulations, the Colorado Attorney General’s office filed an action against the feedyard, accusing the owners of “unlawful taking” of 14,711 fish and levied fines. In February 2018, a district court judge in Yuma County issued a summary judgment finding the feedyard liable. In January 2019, the Colorado Livestock Association engaged its legal counsel to prepare and file an Amicus Brief with the Colorado Court of Appeals in support of the feedyard’s appeal. CLA was joined in this effort by the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The higher court has now reversed the trial court and ordered a judgment in favor of the feedyard, CLA reports.

Chicken prices double

Chicken prices dropped in 2020 following closures and dining room restrictions that swelled stockpiles of chicken in cold-storage facilities, according to reporting by the Wall Street Journal. Boneless skinless chicken breast, the poultry industry's flagship product, last year averaged around $1 a pound. Now boneless chicken breast is trading at more than $2 a pound, compared to the average price of $1.32 over the past decade. The price increase is due in part to “chicken sandwich wars” between fast-food chains, many of which are introducing new crispy and spicy offerings, the Wall Street Journal said.

Cattle prices sputter

Cyclical expansion in cattle numbers from 2014 to 2019 has pushed cattle slaughter beyond packing industry capacity, according to Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension livestock market economist. According to his weekly column, annual average slaughter has exceeded capacity since 2016. Although cattle numbers overall hit a cyclical peak in 2019, feedlot production is just now peaking in early 2021, partly as a result of pandemic delays in 2020, he writes. The February 1 feedlot inventory was the highest of any month since February 2006. Feedlot inventories declined in March and April but slaughter capacity limitations will slow progress in harvesting fed cattle in the coming weeks, he said, making it difficult for feedlots to get more current. He now predicts it will take the remainder of the second quarter and likely much of the third quarter to move fed cattle into tighter numbers and relieve the capacity constraints that are limiting prices.

More:Weekly ag briefs: Lower Ark Valley Basin tour announced, new Colorado state vet announced and more

JBS expands alt-protein portfolio

JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, has agreed to acquire plant-based protein brand Vivera in a deal worth $409 million, according to a report by AgFunder. The Brazilian meat firm said the acquisition “strengthens and boosts” its position in the burgeoning alt-protein market by adding a brand to its existing “animal-free” portfolio. Vivera is Europe’s third-largest plant-based protein producer. It consists of three factories and an R&D center, all located in the Netherlands.

Beaver summit planned in Colorado

Colorado Headwaters, a nonprofit that advocates for protecting and restoring headwater regions, is sponsoring a conference on beavers and their role in protecting watersheds later this year. According to reporting by Fresh Water News, beavers can be a mixed bag for farmers because their dams often harm expensive irrigation systems and cause flooding. Carlyle Currier, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, is quoted as saying agricultural interests are willing to listen to what beaver scientists have to share, while recognizing that beavers can be a nuisance and can harm water rights if they impede movement of water through streams. Plans for the Colorado conference, slated for Oct. 20 through 22 in Avon, comes on the heels of similar confabs that have been held recently in California and New Mexico.

-Compiled by Candace Krebs